The New York State Public Service Commission has approved the addition of a new area code overlaying the 315 area code region, which includes all or parts of Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence and 12 other New York counties.
The new area code, 680, will affect new phone numbers – all existing telephone users in the region will be able to keep their current phone numbers, including the 315 area code.
The 315 area code stretches from the eastern border of Monroe County to Little Falls, north to the Canadian border, east to Massena and south to near Cortland. Most of its population lives in Syracuse and its suburbs. Other major population centers include Utica and Watertown. One of the original area codes created in 1947, it has been split once. In 1954, its southern portion was combined with the eastern portion of area code 716 to form area code 607.
Demand for new phone numbers is driven largely by the growth of new technology that requires an individual phone number, such as cell phones the Commission said in an announcement to the press. With the overlay method, all customers will need to dial 10 digits (the area code plus the 7-digit number) on calls in their area code, and 1 plus 10 digits for calls to numbers outside their area code.
With its decision, the Commission directed all telephone carriers in the 315 area code region to file within 45 days a plan outlining the steps necessary to implement the overlay, including an 11- month permissive dialing period that allows both 7-digit and 10-digit (area code plus 7-digit number) dialing. After this period, only 10-digit dialing will be allowed; and any mis-dialed calls will be trigger a message directing the caller to dial 10 digits.
The North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), which administers the numbering scheme for telephone networks in the United States and elsewhere, initially advised the Commission in 1999 that the 315 area code was projected to have a shortage of available central office codes (the first three digits in a 7-digit phone number). However, ongoing number conservation measures prolonged the life of the area code then and in two other subsequent exhaust forecasts in 2007 and 2013. On February 6, 2015, NANPA informed the Commission that the 315 area code will have a shortage of available central office codes by no later than the first quarter of 2017.